Community-based nutrition education shown to be successful in increasing calcium intake

Vietnamese study presented at Kuala Lumpur Meeting shows retarded bone loss in postmenopausal women who had increased their calcium intake as compared to control group

Today at the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, researchers from the National Institute of Nutrition in Hanoi presented a new research study that showed the benefits of educational intervention in increasing calcium intake and retarding bone loss in postmenopausal women.

Researchers carried out a controlled trial in the Red River Delta in Vietnam involving a total of 140 women. The women, aged 55–65 years, had been postmenopausal for at least 5 years, and had low dietary calcium intake (less than 400 mg/day). An intervention group was given nutrition education counselling over 18 months to improve calcium intake.

After 18 months, the women in the intervention group had increased their calcium intake significantly. Testing showed that the intervention group’s bone mass had remained stable. In comparison, the bone mass of the control group which had not received nutrition education, had decreased by 0.5 % (p<0.01). The PTH (parathyroid hormone) values in the intervention group decreased by 12 % (p<0.01) whereas in the controls, PTH increased by 32 % (p<0.001). PTH controls levels of calcium in the blood and decreased PTH levels results in a reduction of bone loss.

In many Asian countries, levels of dietary calcium and vitamin D in the general population have been shown to be below FAO/WHO recommended levels of calcium intake. For pre-menopausal women and men under age 65 the recommended levels are 1000 mg/day and 1300 mg/day for postmenopausal women and men over age 65.

This study suggests that community-based education programmes to improve intake of dietary calcium could make a difference to bone health and fracture prevention in the postmenopausal population. In Asia, with its growing population of seniors, such interventions could translate into significant health-economic benefits. 

The IOF Regionals Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting is being held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from December 13-16, 2012.  This is one of 163 abstracts which have been published in the scientific journal Osteoporosis International in conjunction with the Meeting.

Reference:
OC9: Effect of nutrition education on calcium intake and bone mass in Vietnamese women
V.T.T. Hien. Nutrition Biochemistry and Metabolism, National Institute of Nutrition, Hanoi, Vietnam. Osteoporos Int Vol. 23 Suppl 7